Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Communication, Technology, and Society

Committee Member

Joseph Mazer, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Andrew Pyle

Committee Member

Erin Ash

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between the use of the smartphone application Yik Yak, psychological well-being, and the formation of social capital. Yik Yak is a social media smartphone application that affords users pseudo-anonymity to create and view discussion threads within a five mile radius. Pearson correlations conducted on results from a survey of undergraduate students (N = 255) revealed a significant relationship between Yak intensity scores, a measure that combines the variables of frequency and duration, and bridging social capital, which are resources based on group membership, relationships, networks of influence, and support derived from engaging with weak ties and diverse people. Although the correlations between Yik Yak and bonding social capital and the measures of well-being were not significant, future research on the application can focus on measures encapsulating the perceived anonymity and self-presentation associated with the app.

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